Victoria (1819–1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom from 1837 to 1901. Shortly after her accession to the throne, Sully decided to visit his native England. The Society of the Sons of St. George, a charitable institution in Philadelphia, adopted a resolution to have Sully paint the Queen during this visit. Victoria sat for Sully throughout March, April and May of 1838 and he painted a number of sketches including this one. After his return to this country, he painted a number of pictures based on his sketches. A version for the Society of St. George aroused controversy when the society sought unsuccessfully to have the rights for making copies of the work removed from the artist.
Signature: [at lower right]: TS [monogram] London May 15th 1838. My original study / of the Queen of England, Victoria 1st / Painted from life / Buckingham House [on back before lining]: Victoria Queen of England / from her person / May 15 1838 London / Tho's Sully
the artist, Philadelphia, until died 1872; his daughter, Mrs. Jane Sully Darley, 1872–died 1877; her son, Francis T. S. Darley, 1877–died 1914